The first round of the second stage of Grand Prix tournament in Tashkent got under way on the 22nd of November 2012 after FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made the first symbolic move in the game Mamedyarov - Kasimdzhanov. The first round was a pretty exciting one for the start of the tournament - two Russian players Alexander Morozevich and Sergey Karjakin started with victories while the other four games were drawn.
During the press-conference Alexander Morozevich said he had decided to play 4.e3 if Gata Kamsky chose 3…b6 and that was the end of his home preparation. Both opponents played creatively and entered into a sharp position after 9.e5. A later 14. Rd1 turned to be an inaccurate move as after 14…Qe8 black managed to solve his problems and it was then white's turn to find the way to equalize his playing chances. In the time trouble Alexander Morozevich succeeded to create some counterplay. Gata Kamsky made a crucial mistake on the 35th move and his position became suddenly lost.
Sergey Karjakin got a comfortable position after the opening playing with the black pieces against Leinier Dominguez from Cuba. The Russian player chose to play a strong manoeuvre 18…Ra6, which had been shown by Boris Avrukh in some analysis published previously. Later on the Cuban player made a series of inaccurate moves and his position became worse. Sergey Karjakin was up to the task of maintaining the pressure and didn’t leave any chances to his opponent to recover.
Local hero and former FIDE World Champion, Rustam Kasimdzhanov preferred to avoid the repetition of the game Mamedyarov-Sargissian, where the Armenian player had chosen 6…b6. Instead, he decided to follow Aronian’s game against Gelfand in Wijk aan Zee and continued with 6…Nbd7. Later on Shakhriyar Mamedyarov put some pressure on his opponent and the former world champion decided to sacrifice a pawn in order to exchange the knights as soon as possible. White didn’t play precisely and black managed to equalize the position. During the press-conference both opponents agreed that white could have created more trouble for black by playing 44.e7 instead of 44.Kg2.
Peter Svidler “wasted” his morning preparing against 1.e4, which never actually happened in the game, as Fabiano Caruana chose 1.d4. Both players are very strong theoreticians in teh Grunfeld but the knowledge of theory finished for both sides quite quickly and white didn’t manage to create much trouble for black in the opening. Fabiano Caruana chose the 3.f3 system with which he had lost as black against Aronian in Moscow. Many sharp variations didn’t appear on the board but were shown by players during the press-conference showing the deep complexity of what goes thorugh a top player's mind during a game but actually does not get played! On the 15th move Fabiano Caruana could have tried f5 but preferred to play 15.h3 instead. After 38 moves the game finished in a draw.
The longest game of the first round between Boris Gelfand and Peter Leko finished in a draw after 6 hours of play. Boris Gelfand pointed out during the press-conference that he got a slight advantage but his opponent played quite precisely and especially after the accurate move 18…Be4 it was not easy to fight for more than draw. Israeli player was looking for some chances till the end but it was not enough to grab a full point. Peter Leko said after the game that he had been quite uncomfortable in the endgame as it appeared that white had got a winning advantage but excellent accurate play enabled the Hungarian number one to share the point.